New AncestryDNA Tools – ThruLines and DNA Match List

– [Blaine] Hello, my
name is Blaine Bettinger, and I’d like to speak to you today about some of the new tools that were recently
launched at AncestryDNA. To give you an idea of the
tools we’re going to talk about, there is the new match listing, which has some additional capabilities, including filtering and clustering. We’re also going to talk a little bit about a new tool called ThruLines. Now before we get started, one
thing that needs to be made explicitly clear at the outset is that just as with any genealogical research, any type of evidence, any type of tool, it’s
not the end of your work. They’re always the beginning of your work. So if you get a piece of
information from clustering or ThruLines or any other tool, that is a piece of information that needs to be verified. so for example, as a result, these tools generate hypotheses. They do not generate conclusions. We have to take the hypotheses
that these tools generate, add evidence to them,
including potentially new DNA evidence, traditional evidence; and we have to do that to
reach a conclusion, okay? So these are not introducing conclusion. Now of course, we know
that you have to research, you have to test, you
have to verify everything you learn from these tools. Now that’s true of any other
type of evidence as well. Just because we get a mother’s maiden name listed on a death certificate for example, doesn’t mean that’s really
the mother’s maiden name. We have to always verify
the information we get to the best of our ability. So just like we would
verify the birth dates from a census record, which
are notoriously wrong, we would want to verify the information we get from ThruLines
or clustering or hints or any other tool that we’re using, whether at Ancestry or any other company. One thing I wanna make
clear from the outset here is that everything in this presentation, including all the names,
the photographs and so on, they’re privatized unless
permission was granted by close family members. So if you see a close
family member listed, they gave me that permission,
or I changed their name. And for any of my matches,
I always change their names. Okay, so up first I wanna talk
about the new match listing. Now as of this recording, in March 2019, this is an opt-in tool. That means you’re not going
to see this by default. So in order to do this, what you wanna do is you wanna go to the top bar
at Ancestry, click on Extras, and then you want to
click on Ancestry Lab. Okay, so Extras, then Ancestry Lab. And then you’ll see
several new options here. The first is MyTreeTags, and then the one we wanna talk about is New & Improved DNA Matches. In order to see these and use these, you’re going to have
to enable the features. Now if you do that and you decide you don’t wanna have them,
you can always come back and disable them, at least for now. So before I jump in to DNA matches, I just wanna talk a little bit about tree tags just very briefly. Tree tags allows you to
add tags to individuals in your genealogical family tree. So this isn’t really a DNA tool. This is actually a tree tool,
and I kind of think of it like an organizational tool. It allows you to label your
ancestors in these trees, or your relatives in these trees in ways that make sense to you. So for example, when you click
on that little tag there, noted by the arrow, off
to the right-hand side, what you can see here is now there is your tree tags workspace. So you can use some of the tags that are available to everyone. So things like brick wall,
military, hypothesis and so on. And you can also create some
of your own custom tags. So maybe you, whatever tag you wanna use, something related to your DNA, maybe you’ve found them
in a certain location, things like that. So that’s MyTreeTags. I just wanna very briefly get into that and also make it clear that
MyTreeTags is not about DNA, it’s about your family tree, your families you have stored at Ancestry. Now the New & Improved DNA Matches. When you enable those, and those should be
available almost immediately, it’s essentially a
tool, and it is in beta, a beta tool for organizing your match list with custom groups. So for example here, this
is the view for your matches you’re probably familiar with. Okay, you have them sorted
by estimated relationship. You have their names listed there, you have some various information, their tree information, things like that. Now the new match listing
is very, very similar. It’s a little bit more condensed. So here you can see for example this is the new match listing, the same people, but it’s a little bit more condensed and there’s a little bit
more capability here. One of the new capabilities
from the match list includes new match counts
and some new filters. So if we go back to my DNA matches, my match list, for
example, you can see here, if I click on all matches
up there at the top, that is part of the new features, if I click on all matches, what you’ll see is I have
various categories here. So I have, the first
one, is starred matches, meaning for some reason or another I’ve starred 22 of my matches. I don’t use the star very often. So as you can see, I don’t
have many of those matches. In total, you can see I have 67,512. Actually, between the time I
took these two screenshots, you can see it increased
by about 100 people. So at the first one on
the left, I had 67,500. On the right, I had 67,600. It will tell you how many
close matches you have, which is essentially
fourth cousin or closer, or all of the people that share 20 or more centimorgans with you. The number of distant matches you have, how many new matches you have, your hidden matches, you can always hide your matches if you want to. I don’t recommend it, but
that’s something you could do. Now because I’ve tested
my mother and my father, you can see I have a listing
as well of my matches that I share with my mother and my father. So this is nice because
this is essentially something that’s new. Now we’ve always been able to sort of roughly estimate our matches,
but it was time consuming, particularly if you had a lot of fourth cousins or closer here. We can always know
minute by minute how many of those matches that we have. So the next thing we can do is under the add a
filter, we’re able to see a couple of filters we can use. So for example we can select matches that have a common ancestor, and common ancestor is sort of like the shared ancestor hint. What that means is Ancestry
has taken your tree and their tree, compared them and found a common ancestor in both. So if you click on common ancestors there, what it will show you is
all of the matches you have that Ancestry has identified
as having a common ancestor. You can click matches you haven’t viewed. That’s the blue button there. Matches you’ve messaged,
matches with notes; matches with trees that are
private, public or unlinked. Now what’s really nice about this is you can also combine these two. So for example you can take new matches that have unlinked trees. And now, in the display, you
will only see new matches that have unlinked trees. Now let’s say you’ve done this and you wanna go back
to your full match list. So what you can do is go
back and click all matches. But let’s say you have
new matches selected and you just want to
essentially unselect that, to go back to the default. Just click on the active filter and it will go back to the default. It will essentially undo the filter. So if my current filter is new matches and I say, okay, I’m all done with this, I wanna go back to my full view, I just come back and I click
that bold filter again, whatever is bolded, and it
will go back to the default. So there are all sorts of
different uses for this. One thing that I find is I use it to say focus on my closest matches. I use it to find my new matches
that have trees and so on. So this is a really nice
way to filter your matches that previously were not available. Okay, so the other capability we have in this new match listing
is group clustering. Now the clustering enables
us to create up to 24 groups, meaning 24 groups of matches. Now each of these are labeled
with a different color. So there are 24 colors
for us to select from. And each of these has
a user-selected name. When I say user-selected, I
really mean user-generated. So I can call a group Grandpa John. I can call a group the
Hernandez research group. I can call a group unknown. Maybe it’s paternal versus
maternal, maternal grandmother. Anything you want to
call it, you can call it. So what we’re gonna do is we have Joan. She is a test-taker, and she
has all of these matches. Now what Joan is going
to do is she has decided she’s gonna use these color groupings to organize her matches
into her four grandparents. Well, the only way she can
do that is if she knows how these individuals are related to her. So she needs to figure out how
Shawn, Nancy, Nicky and C.B. are related to her in order
be able to assign them to a particular one of
her four grandparents. Now for the first match, she has a common ancestor
identified with Shawn. So she can open that up
and see who it suggests to be a common ancestor,
and that might help her figure out which grandparent. Of course we just went
to the disclaimer, right? So that’s not a guarantee that
that’s the right ancestor, but it’s a hint and she
can pursue that, okay? So what she’s gonna do is
she discovers that Shawn is related through her
maternal grandfather, Albert. So if she’s going to add Shawn to the maternal grandfather
cluster or group, she first clicks on add to group, and she doesn’t have any groups yet. You can see if she had groups
they would be listed here. So what she’s gonna do is she’s
gonna create a custom group. This is the first person
she’s going to add to the maternal grandfather group. When she clicks on create custom group, what happens is she gets a pop-up, and now in the pop-up
she can do two things. She can enter a name for the group, and she can select a color. So here, what she’s done
is she’s created a name, Maternal Grandfather, Albert
Zehr in parentheses there. That’s now the name of this group. And she has selected a blue color. So when she hits Save, and
that’s the only two things she needs to do, pick a
color, put in the name and she hits Save; and
now Shawn is assigned to the blue group. Now as you start assigning more colors and creating new groups, you’re going to forget
what the colors mean. The nice thing is you could
always just hover over a color to see what it means. So here for example we’re
hovering over the blue dot and oh, right, blue dot means maternal grandfather Albert Zehr. Now another thing that’s
nice is that you can actually assign a person
to multiple groups. So here you can see this
person has been added to six different groups. Now at some point that’s
not going to become a very effective way to
keep track of matches. But particularly for close relatives, so let’s say you had a
first cousin for example, if you’re labeling all of your matches by your four grandparents,
your first cousin is going to share two grandparents and so they will have two dots, if that’s your particular method. So it’s nice to be able to assign multiple dots to one person, okay? So we have Shawn tentatively assigned, and I do always consider
an assignment tentative until we figure out
exactly with confidence where a person fits in. So we go to Nancy, and Nancy is related through the maternal grandmother Florence. So what we’re going to do now is create a new group for maternal grandmother, and we’ll add Nancy to that group. Now I’m skipping some steps here, right? How do I know Nancy is related to the maternal grandmother, Florence? That sort of the point of a
whole different webinar, right? How do we figure out how
our matches are related? We do things like research their tree, we contact them, we look at
shared matching and so on. Using one of these or
more of these methods, we can deduce here that maternal Nancy is related to maternal
grandmother Florence. So we create a new group. Here we have the new group, and it is now a yellow group. And for Nicky and C.B.,
they’re actually related through one of the paternal grandparents so we can just create a
paternal group for them, and now we have these four matches assigned to three of the different grandparents of Joan, okay? And so it’s really as simple as that. You just have to decide
before you start off what kind of sorting or grouping
method you’re going to use. You really don’t want to have to change it if you can help it down the road. So be sure to pick a method
you feel comfortable with. Some people do back to great-grandparents. Some people do great-great-grandparents, but you have to pick something
you feel comfortable with and going from there. Now sometimes it’s
useful to create a group using shared matches. What I mean by that is you may find, for example you share matches
in common with John Doe, and John Doe is related to you through your great-grandparents,
the Doe grandparents. So what you wanna do is
you wanna label the matches you share in common with John Doe to that same family, right? You wanna label this cluster of matches. The problem is that we can’t
add shared matches to a group using the normal shared match page. Let me show you what I mean by that. Here is a match that I
have, Maria Hernandez, okay? I want to know who I share
in common with Maria. Again, shared matching in common with, this is one of the most powerful
tools the company give us, the companies give us. So what we wanna do is we wanna
make sure we can figure out how to see our shared matches. For me to see my shared
matches with Maria, I just click on the Unlinked Tree button. In fact, I normally
actually open in a new tab whenever I’m opening a link like this. But I’ll click on Unlinked Tree. It will take me then
to Maria’s match page. Here is the match page. And here I click on Shared Matches, just like we used to do to see the matches I share in common with Maria. Now let’s say I know Maria is related through my maternal grandmother. I might wanna give Maria a certain color, and I might also want to label the matches I share in common with
Maria that same color. Unfortunately, I can’t
do it from this screen. So what I can do is though, if
I go back to the match page, or to the match listing
here, you can see now we’re back where we were before, here I am seeing common, I’m
looking for matches with Maria. So instead of clicking on Unlinked Tree, I’m going to click on her
name or open it in a new tab. This will actually take
me to a compare page. On the compare page, what I can do here is I can click on view all shared matches. All right, so what have I done again? I clicked on Maria’s name. Then on the next page, I click
on view all shared matches. And now what I get is a
different shared match page. Here now I have all of my
shared matches with Maria listed in the row here. And now what I can do is I can go through and just click and add each person to the Maria Hernandez group or the maternal grandmother group, or whatever group I
want to assign them to. All right, so that makes it a lot easier to assign individuals. Now it would be nice to have a button that adds all of these
matches to that group, but until we have that, hopefully at some point in the future. For now, what we’ll do is we’ll work with the shared match page, okay? Now let’s say you have a bunch of groups. How do you take advantage
of all of that work? Well, one thing you can do is you can see only the people you’ve
assigned to a group, okay? So the way you do that is you’ll come back to your match page. Here you have all of your matches listed. You go up to all matches, and there you will have
all of the individuals or all of the groupings
that you’ve created. So for example, for Joan, I have her maternal grandfather, Albert; her maternal grandmother, Florence; her paternal grandmother, Inez. And I can now cluster
for any of these matches or any of these groupings. So what I do is I select one. Here I’m gonna pick the
maternal grandmother Florence. And when I do that, now
I have all of the people that I have assigned to the maternal grandmother,
Florence’s group. All right, so for
example, now what I can do is I could open up all their trees, I can try to figure out potentially what the relationship is, and I can work with just these matches
without having to worry about skipping over the blue dot relatives and the green dot relatives and all of these other
groups that I might have. So experiment with these groups and see if there is a clustering
that makes sense to you. Another aspect is we now
get some probabilities for relationships that are
based on the amount of DNA you share with a match. Now this is actually available
for each of your matches right on the main match page. So you can see here I’m sharing with S. Valdes and Smantha1. So what I can do here is
I can see that I share 72 centimorgans with the first match, 70 with the next. What I can do to see the probabilities, how probable are certain relationships based on sharing 72
centimorgans, for example? What I can do is I just
click the little I there to get the probabilities to pop up. And what do I mean by that? That little I right there. When I click on that little I, I then get a pop-up that
has various relationships and their probabilities
between me and that match. So here we share 72 centimorgans. So what I can do now is I can see, well, there’s a 34% probability that it might be one of those relationships listed, right? There’s a 29% probability
of those relationships and 18 and eight and a four. The smaller the percent, the less the likelihood
it’s that relationship. Now keep in mind, it is extremely easy to be biased by these probabilities. In reality, there’s almost no difference between 34% and 29%. There’s very little difference
between 29% and 18%. So you wanna be very careful about saying, well, I have that first category of 34%, it must be one of those. You have to remember, these
are only probabilities. We all know that DNA has a wide range, and so 72 centimorgans isn’t going to be a first cousin for example. But we also know it might be one of these various relationships. In fact, this particular relationship, I know how this person is related. This person is my third
cousin once removed. So this is actually in
the third category, okay? So you want to be careful. I find the best way for
you to get a real feel for probabilities, to
understand how much variance there really is, take some
of your known relationships and check out what the
probabilities are for those. So find one of your fourth
cousins for example, your second cousins, your
first cousins once removed, things like that. Go and see what the probabilities are by clicking on the little
I next to their match and see where it falls
within these probabilities. Maybe you’ll get lucky and
it’s the first one every time. For me, it moves up and down the list. Sometimes it’s the first one, sometimes it’s much further
down the list, okay? So these are just some of
the tools that are available through the new match listing. Now in addition to the new match listing, we have a tool that’s called ThruLines. Now ThruLines is, in some ways, a little bit difficult to explain with a strict definition. It’s essentially for me
a proposed family tree or a family relationship chart using DNA matches and their trees. Now it’s somewhat similar to DNA Circles. It is not identical to DNA Circles. There are some important
differences, okay? So what’s interesting about ThruLines and what’s important to note is you do not need to
opt-in to get ThruLines This is not part of the
opt-in beta like MyTreeTags and the match listing. This is no need to opt-in. But there are requirements. Not everyone is going to get a ThruLine. Everyone is eligible for a ThruLine, but not everyone will get one because there are certain
requirements in place. First of all, you need to have
a tree connected to your DNA. That tree has to be searchable. Now it can be searchable in two ways. It can be public or it can
be private and searchable. The type of trees that won’t be found are private unsearchable trees. So if you have a private
unsearchable tree, you’re not going to get ThruLines. And that tree needs to
be as deep as possible if you want to maximize
the number of ThruLines you’re going to get. Typically, at least three to four generations is
recommended, all right? Now ThruLines go back as far
as fifth great grandparents, so your tree can go back further and you’ll get more ThruLines. Now it’s important to know that there’s not a guarantee. You can have all of those things and there’s no guarantee
that you’ll get a ThruLine. You will also need to have DNA matches with trees that can be
linked into your tree. In other words, if you
are say, for example, a recent immigrant and your lines are recent immigrant lines, it’s going to be very
challenging to get ThruLines just because you’re not going
to have as many matches. And also, not only that,
you’re not going to have as many matches with trees that
link into your trees, okay? So that’s certainly one important
limitation of ThruLines. And in fact, it’s a limitation
of the database, period. Hopefully, as the DNA databases grow, people with immigrant
ancestry and Asian ancestry and African ancestry and
continental European ancestry will get more and more ThruLines. Now there are definitely important
limitations for ThruLines that you need to understand. Number one, we’re gonna go all the way back to the beginning, and that is this is not
a conclusion generator. ThruLines is the very first step in a lengthy analysis, okay? ThruLines are hypotheses only. They are hints, they are clues,
they are potential evidence. They are not conclusions, okay? Some other limitations that can occur. If you have errors in your tree, whether using names incorrectly, whether using strange
notations in your names; so if you have an asterisk
in your name or parentheses or other things like that, that’s going to cause matching problems. It has to find connections between people. And if there are weird
things in your labeling, that’s going to be difficult
for the algorithm to do. Not only that, if it’s
not just in your tree but in other trees, there’s going to be a problem there as well. Another is it’s having some difficulty with adoptee and step relationships. But again, this is in beta
so I expect that adoptee and step relationship
issue to be addressed in future versions. One thing that’s
important to do is to note what type of relationship you have with someone in your tree. If someone is, for example,
not a biological connection, you might not want to
identify them as such. Go in and you can assign a particular relationship to that person if you’re interested in getting
some of these ThruLines. Now at some point it’s
believed that ThruLine will completely replace DNA Circles. But for now, even if you have ThruLines, your DNA Circles that you had before are in fact still available. So if you get some ThruLines, what you can do is you can come down here and you can click still
want to use DNA Circles. We don’t know for how
long that will be around, so I do recommend that you go, you screenshot your DNA
Circles, save the pages so that you have that information just in case that is no longer available at some point down the road, okay? So what we’re gonna do is we’re going to access
ThruLines for an individual. Here we are going to click
on, in order to access it, you just click on Explore ThruLines. And now what you see
is you’re going to see a list of matches for your, a list of ThruLines for whoever this is. Now there’s a couple
of ways to filter this. You can filter it by all ancestors. You can filter it by potential ancestors, meaning ancestors it
thinks you might have. It can filter by ancestors
from your linked tree and so on and so forth. So here for example are some
ThruLines for this individual. It will start with your
most recent and go back as far as fifth great
grandparents if it can. So if we wanna examine a
ThruLine, we’ll click on one. Each of these faces, they’ll
actually have pictures there. If you have pictures in your tree representing these
individuals, those will show up instead of the blank here. We might see some examples of
that a little bit later on. Here what we’ll do is
we’re gonna pick this for Margaret Biltmore, okay? Now this is their
ThruLine that’s generated for Margaret Biltmore, okay? What you can see is she’s
listed as the ancestor here. It appears she has three
children that have tested. Darla, L.S. and Christine. So this is a ThruLine for
Erin Chase here, okay? And you can see that Erin Chase is being compared to her mother. She’s being compared to her aunt. So that’s how much DNA there, 1,670. That’s how much Erin
shares in common with L.S. 1,525, that’s how much
Erin shares with Christine. 643, that’s how much Erin
shares with Nicole and so on. So what it’s done is it
has found other people that have Margaret Biltmore in their tree and share DNA with Erin, and it has created this family tree, okay? Now in this particular case,
Erin had all of these people in her tree already, but these are very, very close relationships. The more distant these get potentially, the more matches you didn’t have before you might find in a particular ThruLine. Let’s go back to the
ThruLines here for Erin. Here, let’s look at her great-great-great-grandfather,
William Simmons. So she’ll click on William Simmons, and the first thing she
sees is, first of all, if you look right below
the big letters there where it says ThruLines
for William Simmons, it says ThruLines suggests that Erin Chase may be related to 80 DNA
matches through William Simmons. That’s a lot of DNA matches. It appears that a number of people, potentially up to 80 in the Simmons family have actually undergone DNA testing. So you can see for
example through son Cain, there appear to be 16 DNA matches. Through William, eight. Through George, 27, and so on. What Erin can do now is she
can look at all of these individual DNA matches to see whether or not they make sense. Now does this prove that
Erin is the descendant of William Simmons? Absolutely not, right? These people could be related through an entirely different family. Now the more people you have in a cluster, the stronger the evidence gets. But there are certainly
possibilities here, okay? Possibilities of errors. Okay, so one thing you can do is let’s click on George
Simmons, for example. So we click on George Simmons to see those 27 matches. Now we get a cluster for George. Now what’s interesting
is what we have here is we have some people
that were in the tree and potentially people
that were not in the tree, meaning Erin may have not had before, the people in dotted
lines, Ida and William. So it looks like, through
this George Simmons, there are in fact five
children who have their own DNA matches or their own DNA
descendants that have tested. So you can drill down on any of these. You can look at the six DNA matches that are purportedly related through James Simmons and so on, okay? So you can go through and look at all this various information. You can decide for yourself whether these matches make sense, whether there are
potentially relationships through other lines and so on. Again, this is not the
end of the investigation. This is just the very beginning. You need to go in and
verify all of these matches to decide whether or not they’re something that’s interesting to you. Maybe now as a result of this, you’re actually going
to add Ida and Williams to the family tree that you
didn’t have them in before. Maybe all of these DNA matches,
these are living people. These are descended from
people 150 years ago, and so these may be entirely new people that you didn’t have in your tree before. These could be people you
collaborate with and so on. Let’s go back up a generation,
back to William Simmons. All right, so we’re gonna click here on Mary Ann Simmons right there. She has three DNA matches underneath. So what we’re gonna do is
we’re gonna look down here. All right, so here we have,
under Mary Ann Simmons, we have three individuals
that Erin matches. It’s an RB, a DO and an IR. You can see the matches are very small. 13 centimorgans, 10
centimorgans, eight centimorgans. So these are not very, very close matches. But as you can see, the
relationships are probably going to be somewhat distant here. Fourth cousins, for example. These are all predicted to
be fourth cousins to Erin. Now what you note is there are
a lot of private people here, meaning it’s not immediately
clear what those names are. Now often, if these are coming from trees where it’s private but it’s searchable, what you can do is you can
click on Private there. So we’re gonna click on Private and we’re gonna open that up. And what we get is we get a tree called JoshuaSDavenport, and
it says this private tree contains information about Mary West born in 1874 in Massachusetts. Now we can’t actually
see that information, anything else about Mary
West other than this. But because this tree is
private but searchable, we actually now know,
it’s our hypothesis now that that person with the red arrow is potentially Mary West. So we can verify that for ourselves. We can add that information. We can potentially work
with DO and IR there to add to our tree. But again, we’re getting
a lot of information from these ThruLines that
potentially we didn’t have previous to this tool. Now if you don’t wanna look in this relationship chart like
this, you can actually go up and use the list view and see all of the people that are listed. So here what we can do is
now this list view actually, because there are so many children here, what they’ve done is they’ve clustered all of these matches by children. So for example, there’s the Cain Simmons, William Simmons, George Simmons and so on. Now if you wanna see
the matches under there, what you can do is click on the drop-down. So I’m gonna click on the
William Simmons drop down for eight matches, and now I
can see all of those matches that I share through
this individual, okay? Through William Simmons. So you can see, it’s quite arranged there. It’s actually organized by the amount of centimorgans you share, which is nice. So I share a high of 52 and
a low of six centimorgans with these individuals. Now if you wanna see
the relationship path, what you do is you click
on view relationship and now I have only the
relationship between me and, or between Erin Chase
and Esther C. for example through George Simmons. I can go back and click
another one and so on to see exactly what each
of those relationships are. Okay, now note it condenses some of this. So that three and then the caret there, that indicates there are three
more generations in here. Just click on each of those to expand, and now you have all of the
people individual in the line. What’s interesting, as you can see, is you did not have, it looks like, Esther or Erin didn’t have
Esther in this tree before. So she might not have ever made
this connection with Esther. Now as a result, she has potentially placed Esther in her tree. She can work with Esther
and see if potentially the connection they
have found makes sense, or if maybe there’s another relationship they don’t know about and so on. Now we can bring in some
of the probabilities here. Remember the probabilities
we discussed earlier where you click the little
I next to every match. That is still available in ThruLines. So here, for example, this is someone related through an ancestor, a second great-grandfather, Remiro Spicer. They’re predicted to be a
second cousin once removed and they share 52 centimorgans. If I click that amount,
that’s hyperlinked there, 52 centimorgans, five segments. If I click on that, up comes
the probabilities chart. So here, for example, Francis
Bettinger and Carrie Davidson. They are second cousins once removed according to the chart, and
there’s a 15% likelihood of that relationship, okay? So for me, I think that
identifying these new matches that you might not have otherwise found or known to look for is a really helpful aspect of ThruLines. Another helpful aspect of ThruLines is that you’re identifying
potential shared matches below the 20 centimorgan threshold. At Ancestry, there is a threshold of 20 centimorgans or more, meaning a shared match
in order to be shown between you and your other match has to share 20 centimorgans
or more with you and with the other person. If they don’t, you’re
not going to see them. So here for example, if I was
looking for shared ancestors through my ancestor Sophia
Arcouette, for example, look at how much DNA
I share with Jennifer. Jennifer shares only 12
centimorgans with me. So I wouldn’t see Jennifer
in a shared match list. And also, she didn’t have
a very complete tree. So essentially, it would have
been very, very difficult for me to figure out how
Jennifer is related to me if I didn’t have this ThruLine available. Now potentially she might have shown up in a DNA Circle before,
but I was not seeing her in any of this, in my Sophia DNA Circle. So this is a new development
as a result of ThruLines. So that’s one really nice feature, is finding those smaller matches. Now we know we have to
be very, very careful with smaller segments, okay? So 12 centimorgans,
this could absolutely be the relationship that we
share that shows this. There’s also a chance that we might have a more distant relationship that we’d have to look for, okay? So remember, this is
not a conclusion here. I’ve not proven anything. I haven’t proven, for example, that I’m a half cousin once
removed with Jennifer Price. I need to work with this further. As I was working with
this, I discovered another fun possible use for ThruLines, and that is identifying new Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA test-takers. So I was going through and
I see that Sarah Bodden is my mitochondrial DNA ancestor, right? She’s my great-great-great-grandmother. And so what I can do is I
can review her ThruLine. When I open her ThruLine,
this is what I see. I do see descendants through
multiple of her children, including my ancestor, Cora. But there’s also a brother
Hardy with matches, and there’s a Jessie Cooper with matches. Now if I look, what I note
is I know there’s an unbroken female line between me and Sarah Bodden. She’s my maternal DNA, my
mitochondrial DNA ancestor. But guess what, she’s David Birdie and Richard Smith’s mitochondrial
DNA ancestor as well. So let’s say, for
example, that you had done mitochondrial DNA testing but
you didn’t have any matches, and yet you wanna confirm your ancestry back to your maternal
ancestor here, Sarah Bodden. You could easily ask David or Richard to take a mitochondrial DNA test. And if your research is correct, they should be an exact
or a near exact match. And another nice thing is you already know David and Richard are
interested in DNA testing or willing to say yes to DNA testing, and so as a result you’re
sort of pre-selecting for a population that are more likely to do this type of test. So this is really just a very easy way. Of course we’ve been
doing this forever, right? Typically, we will go
through and track generations down and down and down. Here, this is a very efficient way for me to just look and see, are
there any mitochondrial DNA ancestors from this
person that have already done DNA testing and I might
be able to take advantage of? So I can ask either
David or Richard or both to take this new test. And as I said before, they’re
already interested in DNA. Here’s another example, Philip Bettinger is my Y-DNA ancestor. So potentially, I can find
other Y-DNA descendants, right? So I’m gonna review his ThruLine. And sure enough, there
he is, Philip Bettinger. My ancestor is George Bettinger down to me through male, male, male line
down to Blaine Bettinger. So what I wanna do is
I wanna test my Y-DNA. That will be essentially the Philip Bettinger Y-DNA haplotype. What I would love to do is test it to other Philip Bettinger descendants. Here, for example, another one I have. I have another son that
has DNA descendants, so what I can do is simply
look at the DNA matches here under Johann to see if
there are any people, any males through an unbroken male line. Now in this particular
example, when I click on that, it turns out neither of them
is an unbroken male line. They are either a female test-taker or there’s a female in the line. So this example didn’t work out, but this will work for anyone that you wanna potentially Y-DNA test, any ancestor or mitochondrial DNA test. Now again, it’s really important to understand that ThruLines, just like any tool or any
evidence, have limitations. And first and foremost, is
that ThruLines rely on trees, which of course can have errors. So I was looking through my ThruLines and I saw I have a Henry
Johnson as one of my ThruLines. Now immediately I went,
that’s not possible. Because what I realized was I had Henry Johnson in my tree, when in fact I shouldn’t. So at one point I thought that Henry was the father of Minerva Johnson. And so I had tentatively
added him to my tree. Now this was to do things like look for shared ancestor hints to
sort of keep me organized with him in the tree,
start collecting documents and collaborate with other people that were also researching
this individual. The problem was, when I
realized the actual ancestry on this line, I did not come back and delete or detach Henry from this tree. So as a result, I was
getting a ThruLine for Henry when in fact I shouldn’t have been. So what I wondered is what
happens if I remove Henry and Minerva from my tree? And will the ThruLine disappear? So I did that, and what I found is now Henry is listed as a potential ancestor. How do I know he’s a potential ancestor? Because you can see, he’s
shown by the dotted lines. So when I click on his ThruLine now, what I see is he’s listed
as a potential ancestor. Both Minerva and Henry are
listed as my potential ancestors. And what I can do is when
I click on Henry Johnson, what I can see in this tree, and again all the identifying information is changed for this tree, that is really Henry Johnson. But you can see one of
the children he has listed is Minnie Johnson born in 1969. My circle or my ThruLine has
Minerva Johnson from 1969, and so it’s making this connection. Unfortunately, it’s
using the wrong Minnie, and this is entirely my fault because I perpetuated that error. So what I can do now
is I could potentially work with the person to fix this error. But for now, I’m going
to have to live with it because of that issue. Another potential
problem is that ThruLines might have trouble with
misattributed parentage events. So what I mean by that is this. In this ThruLines, okay,
Karen and Jennifer are, according to their tree, first cousins. So Karen is a grandchild
of Nathaniel Crouch, and Jennifer is a grandchild
of Nathaniel Crouch. Now this is from the viewpoint of Karen. When I look and see how
much DNA they share, I can see they share 384 centimorgans. Now if you’ve been
working with close matches and testing and family members, you know that’s an immediate red flag. In fact, if I click on that, up comes the probabilities. And sure enough, there’s
less than a 1% probability of them being first cousins. And in fact, I’ve done
enough additional testing and research to show they’re
in fact half first cousins. But the problem is, in my tree, I have them as being first cousins. And in fact, Marcey is
not a child of Nathaniel, although she’s a child
of Nathaniel’s spouse. So Marcey and Ralph
there are half siblings. And as a result, Jennifer and
Karen are half first cousins. This problem though is
supported by something else. There’s actually an entirely
different random match that supports this relationship. So Nathaniel has a sister MaryAnne. And MaryAnne has a descendant called Tara. And Tara shares 20
centimorgans with Karen. Oh, I may have made a mistake. I apologize. I said before Marcey wasn’t
a child of Nathaniel. In fact, Ralph is not
a child of Nathaniel. That’s why we’re seeing this
relationship to Jennifer. What’s interesting though is that Karen is randomly related to Tara through a line other than MaryAnne. So if there are multiple relationships in a family like this, that can actually
support what is otherwise an erroneous ThruLines. And that’s really a fundamental problem of DNA in general, right? This affects all of our conclusions. We always have to consider the possibility that people are related through lines other than the one we’ve identified. And in fact, in this
example, Tara and Karen are related through an
entirely different family and are approximately third
to fourth cousins or so. So we have to always keep that in mind. Again, ThruLines and all these other tools are only the beginning of the research. They’re never the end. They do not give you a conclusion. They cannot give you a conclusion, but they give you incredibly
valuable information that you can potentially use. Certainly, you’re going to
use some of these ThruLines and you’re going to find
that they are not accurate. And that’s part of an automated process. If they were accurate, then
we wouldn’t need people to look at genealogical conclusions, we could just use algorithms. That’s not currently possible. I, in some ways, hope it’s never possible. We always wanna use humans
to verify this, right? As with any piece of evidence, what it looks like can lead you astray. Another important limitation
to consider is that this ThruLines is a little
bit of a double-edged sword. The greater your tree is built out, potentially the more ThruLines you get. The problem is, the greater
your tree is built out, the less potentially new information you learn from ThruLines. I see this tool as having
sort of this sweet spot between people that have a smaller tree versus people that have
an intermediate tree. So for example, if you have
a few ancestors built out, potentially, with the help of ThruLines, you’ll make more and more discoveries or have more and more hypotheses. Someone who’s been working
on their tree and their DNA for a decade shouldn’t expect to get any miraculous discoveries
as a result of ThruLines. They’ve already been doing all this work and all of these discoveries
for many, many years. So the same time, newbies, for example, if they have a new
tree, they’re gonna have a hard time getting ThruLines. So there’s sort of that sweet
spot in between the two. So as a reminder, these tools only generate hypotheses. They cannot generate conclusions. Only you, a human brain,
generate conclusions using all the pieces of evidence. That includes DNA, it
includes every single time, it includes a lot of non-DNA
traditional evidence as well. So you have to research
everything you learn from these tools. There is no single tool
or piece of evidence that provides you with a conclusion. Only you create conclusions. Tools only create hypotheses, okay? So I have another video that is looking at the new tools at MyHeritage
that was just released. You can look at that here. And one last thing before I go. I wanna let you know about DNA Central. Now DNA Central is a membership-based
DNA education portal. It has things like online courses about Ancestry and
MyHeritage and Living DNA and FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe. It has a twice-monthly newsletter with all the most recent
information in the world of DNA. There are some webinars, there
are some links for resources, there’s a lot more. And if you aren’t yet a member, you can get $30 off a
new yearly membership, which is normally $99,
if you use that code. So thank you very much for joining me. I hope you learned how
to use these new tools along with the benefits and
limitations of those tools. And I wish you all the best
of luck with your research. Thank you very much.


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